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09 July 2008

Take This Job...

Frustrated with your job at the workplace or in the home? Fed up with people who make your best efforts look bad because they drop the ball or do something you consider to be really dumb? Feel like everyone is completely ungrateful for all the things you do behind the scenes? (What can make that worse is that the things you do really aren't "behind the scenes," but apparently no one pays attention even if the things you do are in plain sight.)

Swallowing your pride is a very tough thing to do. In most situations, I've found that pride is the beast that keeps my contention level high. I want to get frustrated and stay that way, and maybe it's perfectionism rearing its head, but I don't want my efforts to result in less than I know they could have.

I don't believe we're ever supposed to be content with second best, but I've found these verses to be a great help in changing my attitude:

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Colossians 3:22-23, NLT)

If this Christ-like attitude applied to slaves, how much more does it apply to those of us who are being reimbursed for our services? Verse 23 has always hit me hard: "Work... as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." Ow.

We're likely to think (maybe justifiably so), "But God wouldn't make me go back and have to redo the same spreadsheet I did last week!" or, "God wouldn't dirty up every single towel in the house in just one day!"

What's the solution, then? I think the beginnings can be found only a few short verses earlier: "And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (Colossians 3:17, NLT) Just as we can't expect to snap our fingers and become mature Christ-followers overnight -- we are being transformed daily by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2) -- we're not going to be able to correct what we see as the faults of others overnight.

We have two basic choices here: we can represent Jesus Christ to them, or we can not represent Jesus Christ to them.

ADDENDUM: Read Psalm 4 for another perspective on this type of situation:

Answer me when I call to you,
   O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
   Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people ruin my reputation?
   How long will you make groundless accusations?
   How long will you continue your lies?

You can be sure of this:
   The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
   The Lord will answer when I call to him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
   Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit,
   and trust the Lord.

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
   Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
   than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
   for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.


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